T Nation

Altitude Generators

Hello all,

I know BJ Penn and others have said they sleep in hypoxic chambers for increased endurance (not that BJ is a great poster child for endurance). Has anyone here used or known someone who has used a hypoxic chamber? What were their results like? Overall, what are you opinions on this type of training? To me its obviously supplemental (by that I mean it would only be noticably effective if you were training hard and proper to start), but in the fight game an inch can be a mile advantage wise. Anyways, what do you think?

[quote]danew wrote:
Hello all,

I know BJ Penn and others have said they sleep in hypoxic chambers for increased endurance (not that BJ is a great poster child for endurance). Has anyone here used or known someone who has used a hypoxic chamber? What were their results like? Overall, what are you opinions on this type of training? To me its obviously supplemental (by that I mean it would only be noticably effective if you were training hard and proper to start), but in the fight game an inch can be a mile advantage wise. Anyways, what do you think?[/quote]

Sounds too expensive for what it’s worth.
Just train harder than everyone else.

My old gym (Crunch Fitness on Sunset in Los Angeles) had one, it may still be there. Anyway, I would use it to get away from the gym music and people as it was enclosed. I never noticed any changes from using it though. I think you’d really have to bust your ass in there to increase work capacity. Don’t know how you have access to one, if it is there already (like in the case of my old gym) it can’t really hurt I suppose, but I can’t imagine it is worth the cost otherwise.

Well, to be fair, most protocols (including the ones I’m talking about) suggest sleeping at altitude (so spending 7-8 hours a day there) and/or doing 20 min sessions with a mask on a couple to a few times per day…so I’m not sure sitting in there for a few min to get away from gym music counts.

well I meant I did my cardio in there, but nonetheless, I agree with you, which was what I was kind of eluding too. Unless you have something you can spend a considerable amount of time in, I can’t see it working.

Altitude training is insanely hard.How the machines compare to
real altitude I don’t know.

Both of the colleges, I wrestled in were at about 1000 to 1500 feet
Not much.
I was lucky enough to train 2x at the OTC in colorado springs
to train and nothing prepared me for the altitude its 6000+ feet there.
Over 1.5 miles.
The work outs and runs are scaled back the first few days- but it was
super hard

Hypoxia training has been used by boxers and olympic athletes for years
The Cubans have used it heavily.

I think only for the elite would it make much difference-
a full on training camp at altitude would be much harder.

kmc

Current thinking on altitude training has only really been evaluated on endurance athletes (unless there’s a newer study than the ones I’ve seen.) The consensus seems to be that there is not a perceived benefit for actually training at altitude rather than just living there, in fact it is thought to be less efficient(by some) unless the athlete will be competing at altitude, when it is obviously beneficial to train in the environment you’ll be competing in.

The preferred method seems to be to live high and train low. So in reference to altitude machines, they make the perfect adjustment for this method by giving you the ability to sleep in an oxygen deprived atmosphere and build up more red blood cells to carry the o2, while training in an environment where you’ll be able to train to the fullest of your capabilities.

Of course the study didn’t go into the psychological effects of having to bust your ass while in an environment containing less oxygen, so maybe that’s the intangible factor that one might gain from living and training at a high altitude as opposed to using one of these generators and training at a low altitude.

My whole thing with these generators and tents is that I’m supposed to be sleeping while this thing is sucking the o2 out of the air I’m breathing…what if it takes out too much, I wouldn’t wake up…but I’d like to hear from someone who’s actually had experience with those things.

[quote]slimjim wrote:
Current thinking on altitude training has only really been evaluated on endurance athletes (unless there’s a newer study than the ones I’ve seen.) The consensus seems to be that there is not a perceived benefit for actually training at altitude rather than just living there, in fact it is thought to be less efficient(by some) unless the athlete will be competing at altitude, when it is obviously beneficial to train in the environment you’ll be competing in.

The preferred method seems to be to live high and train low. So in reference to altitude machines, they make the perfect adjustment for this method by giving you the ability to sleep in an oxygen deprived atmosphere and build up more red blood cells to carry the o2, while training in an environment where you’ll be able to train to the fullest of your capabilities.

Of course the study didn’t go into the psychological effects of having to bust your ass while in an environment containing less oxygen, so maybe that’s the intangible factor that one might gain from living and training at a high altitude as opposed to using one of these generators and training at a low altitude.

My whole thing with these generators and tents is that I’m supposed to be sleeping while this thing is sucking the o2 out of the air I’m breathing…what if it takes out too much, I wouldn’t wake up…but I’d like to hear from someone who’s actually had experience with those things.[/quote]

Yea I mean the idea is that its good to BE at altitude because it increases hematocrit, etc, but not particularly beneficial to TRAIN at altitude unless you are competing there. The problem is that you get physio benefits from the alititude, but, as suggested, the training is extremely tough there. Because it is so tough, guys actually don’t get to train as hard and/or long as they would at sea level. So the idea is to sleep, or rest at altitude to try to get the physio effects, but train at sea level in order to maximize intensity.

bump

Training at altitude can reap benefits …
even if you are not competing at altitude.

It does improve your short term cardio- or your ability to recover.
Or more specifically your ability to work under partial recovery
in any match, boxing, wrestling , MMA , grappling or whatever-
at some point you are going to be working under partial recovery.

I spent a month at one point in colorado training post collegeat altitude
I had been there before for a clinic for a week
simple things like doing a 2 minute round robin were hard
sprints , hill, stair, very painful for a few days
You adapt- you progress.
. It made a huge difference- but short term.

but this is really for the elite- athletes who are truly at the top-
looking for one time or very short term small push in progress.
not milestones in progress.

kmc

[quote]kmcnyc wrote:
Training at altitude can reap benefits …
even if you are not competing at altitude.

It does improve your short term cardio- or your ability to recover.
Or more specifically your ability to work under partial recovery
in any match, boxing, wrestling , MMA , grappling or whatever-
at some point you are going to be working under partial recovery.

I spent a month at one point in colorado training post collegeat altitude
I had been there before for a clinic for a week
simple things like doing a 2 minute round robin were hard
sprints , hill, stair, very painful for a few days
You adapt- you progress.
. It made a huge difference- but short term.

but this is really for the elite- athletes who are truly at the top-
looking for one time or very short term small push in progress.
not milestones in progress.

kmc

[/quote]

I’m not trying to be a dick, but I can’t think of a better way to phrase my question so if it sounds like I’m being a prick that isn’t my intention as I’m not clear what you’re saying.

Training at altitude is beneficial because you get tired faster and therefore get to practice your given sport in a tired state?

[quote]slimjim wrote:
kmcnyc wrote:
Training at altitude can reap benefits …
even if you are not competing at altitude.

It does improve your short term cardio- or your ability to recover.
Or more specifically your ability to work under partial recovery
in any match, boxing, wrestling , MMA , grappling or whatever-
at some point you are going to be working under partial recovery.

I spent a month at one point in colorado training post collegeat altitude
I had been there before for a clinic for a week
simple things like doing a 2 minute round robin were hard
sprints , hill, stair, very painful for a few days
You adapt- you progress.
. It made a huge difference- but short term.

but this is really for the elite- athletes who are truly at the top-
looking for one time or very short term small push in progress.
not milestones in progress.

kmc

I’m not trying to be a dick, but I can’t think of a better way to phrase my question so if it sounds like I’m being a prick that isn’t my intention as I’m not clear what you’re saying.

Training at altitude is beneficial because you get tired faster and therefore get to practice your given sport in a tired state?[/quote]

You aren’t a dick…good question. Well the theory goes that because you are breathing a smaller % of oxygen at altitude, your body responds by producing more red blood cells in order to more efficiently bind that lower amount of oxygen. Therefore when you come back to down sea level (and therefore normal 16% oxygen) you are much more efficient at using oxygen than someone who has not trained at altitude.

Now, critics of this say that while it is true that your body undergoes that response, because you are at altitude and that’s so hard on your body, you aren’t actually training as hard as the guy at sea level who can actually breathe. Enter altitude chambers. You sleep, read, or whatever at altitude so your body undergoes that physiological response I talked about earlier.

However, you are still training at sea level, so you can train at that higher intensity. Some triathletes and the like used to accomplish this by living a couple miles up on a mountain, but driving down the mountain to train at sea level everyday. The altitude chamber helps you accomplish this. Several MMA fighters, as well as many NFL players and other athletes, swear by this method. I’m really asking what people think about the “Live High, Train Low” method. Does it carry weight do you think? and MOSTLY, has anyone tried it???

[quote]I’m not trying to be a dick, but I can’t think of a better way to phrase my question so if it sounds like I’m being a prick that isn’t my intention as I’m not clear what you’re saying.

Training at altitude is beneficial because you get tired faster and therefore get to practice your given sport in a tired state?[/quote]

Dude… its cool-
Let me explain how it was explained to me.

You get tired faster- at the beginning the first few days. After that your body is adapting to perform with less. And you can
train as you normally would but you need more sleep.

The principle being that when " full" oxygen is available you will be able to
function more efficiently. I said partial recovery if you train with a heart rate monitor and do sprints or whatever , the time you need to get your heart back down, that is recovery

Partial recovery is similiar to the altitude- you go and do more sprints while the heart rate is still up- partial recovery you are working at a deficit which is what you will be doing in a match. And this training is to help you avoid that.

You can still train full throttle, once you are aclimatised to the elevation.And trust me you are training full speed, full bore in colorado at the OTC.

But you can only do this short term a few weeks, for a one off. I dont think the body can take it long term…you get headaches,
your heart races. sometimes it was hard to breath. and the benifits do not last.

I went up there for a clinic then later to train- for about a month. So that is 3 weeks of being acclimated then back to Upstate NY for the tournament I wanted to do. That was a difference of like 5000 ft. To keep the " benifits" I would have had to train much much harder
locally.

here is a decent article I found. Pretty good.
http://www.cptips.com/altitud.htm

just to put this in perspective- this is what I did, so I can only comment on my past training, this is also like 15 years ago- early 1990’s
like 92 I did not train for olympics or anything remotely close but did two “camps” with the guys there My Div3 coach was a greco consultant at one point. I later wrestled at Syracuse- D1 under gene mills
who was also part of the OTC…

kmc

bump

OK, thanks for the replies guys, that makes sense…I was just trying to picture how getting tired faster would be better for you, but I can see the logic. It sure doesn’t sound like much fun though…especially after watching the all-access with Wanderlei running on a treadmill with a snorkel on.

Sorry I took so long to get back on this, I’ve developed this superstition that if I engage in a BJ Penn thread before his fight I’ll jinx him and therefore had to avoid T-Nation until the fight went down because the temptation was getting to be too much.

Try hypoxic swimming if you have a buddy to spot you. its an intense workout. i do it with my “12 weeks to BUD/S” workout. you ramp up the number of strokes you do before breathing.

Also I saw the vandy ufc training video, with like a snorkel and nose plug or something.